The Cramps

I have to say that after another stolen election – you can callme paranoid, but it was stolen, folks – I was not in the mood tohear any music at all, nor did I think anybody else was. Like manypeople, I probably would’ve rather curled up on my bed in the dark,worrying about the annihilation of the middle class, the erosion ofcivil liberties, the deteriorating situation in Iraq and itsmassive debt, and the stupidity of the fifty percent of people inthis country. But I had a job to do and I am a music writer, not apolitical one, so to the Cramps show I went.

I missed the Deadbillys because I was late. I didn’t carebecause, with a name like that, they were probably a psychobillyband – one of the most irritating genres of music I’ve had themisfortune of hearing. I’d rather listen to some Carl Perkins orElvis; plain old rockabilly does me just fine. The Cramps haveoften been labeled as this, but I don’t think they can be pinneddown.

The other opener was an all-girl act called the Gore Gore Girls.I wish I had been tardier because this group was boring. They had a”Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” look, sans irony. The leaderreminded me of that girl from the one-hit wonder band 4 NonBlondes. They were shooting for a 60s garage-neo punk mesh thatkind of sounded like the music from the new movie about Josie andthe Pussycats. None of their songs were interesting and their setseemed to go on forever. Despite this, the 4 Non Blondes lady kepther spirit and never relinquished her handle on the audience. I’mnot sure if I should respect her for this. On the one hand, she mayhave realized that she wasn’t that interesting and knew that, as aperformer, she had to keep her chin up. On the other hand, she mayhave been too arrogant to admit that she sucked. This was probablythe worst opening act I’ve seen since Billy Talent opened for theBuzzcocks, and Billy Talent is downright despicable (stupidCanadians).

After about 45 minutes of mediocrity, my faith in humanity hadsunk even lower and I had less faith that the Cramps could make mefeel any better. Like I said before, I wasn’t in the greatest ofmoods and was feeling emotionally constipated, but Lux and co. werethe Ex-Lax that my soul badly needed (I guess I shall call himEx-Lux, Ha Ha!). Once they started playing, every weirdo thatshowed up began moving. I even saw a few hippies doing thetwist.

Despite having a slight paunch and despite what ol’ Choncy saidabout him not being able to fit in his pants, Lux has remainedrelatively thin. He is one of those lucky folks that have alwaysbeen thin and the way he moved onstage probably keeps him that way.Like the 4 Non Blondes/Gore Gore Girls woman, he understands stagepresence, but, unlike her, he has talent and is actuallyinteresting. His audience interaction was better than that of aprofessional stand-up comedian and the way he moved on stage madehim look like a sleazy zombie, skirting the line between insanityand acting, sort of like a psychotic Mick Jagger.

Poison Ivy also looked great and was as sexy as she’s alwaysbeen. She and the bassist stood still, letting Lux dominate theband’s visual aspects. They matched him by creating a wall ofspellbinding noise that kept my foot tapping.

George Bush may be an asshole, but he can’t take away rock ‘n’roll. Come 2008, I’m voting for Lux Interior.